Snug Harbor Announces Open Call for Original Work to be Featured in New Porch Plays Performance

For Immediate Release: Contact Meredith Sladek at

September 14, 2020 | Staten Island, NY – Snug Harbor invites young, diverse artists of all talents and skillsets to help bring about greater social consciousness on Staten Island by submitting original work in the open call for Porch Plays, a brand new performance event spotlighting the local creative community, in their own words.

Porch Plays will be staged on the front porch of Snug Harbor’s Cottage C, an iconic 19th-century cottage on the west side of Snug Harbor’s dynamic campus, during the weekend of October 23 – 25, 2020.  The series explores the “porch/front stoop” and its role in community building and storytelling, while centering the stories and artistry of communities of color, LGBTQ+, people with disabilities, other marginalized communities, and their allies. 

Snug Harbor is seeking submissions for 10-minute pieces in theater, dance, music, poetry and storytelling that explore community resilience.  The deadline to submit a piece is September 25, 2020 at 11:59 PM. Prospective performers can learn more and apply at

“We’re excited to transform the porches of Cottage Row into a vibrant, inclusive space where BIPOC, LGBTQ+ and other marginalized artists can come together to share stories of solace, resistance, and joy,” said Melissa West, Vice President of Curation, Visual and Performing Arts at Snug Harbor. “This is the moment to explore new and reimagined ways of being that demonstrate our community’s enduring resilience. Porch Plays aims to catalyze social justice through the power of the performing arts. We hope you’ll join us.”

Sponsorship opportunities are available to businesses on Staten Island and the rest of New York City who are excited to gain brand awareness among a young, diverse, artistic audience of influencers and go-getters at the forefront of positive social change.  With generous sponsorship opportunities, businesses can signal their commitment to culture, to community, and to Snug Harbor’s role in providing a vibrant incubator for the arts in the five boroughs.

The Porch Plays Open Call offers the following questions as prompts:

  • What does it mean to be in community with one another? A community is defined as a social unit with commonality such as norms, religion, values, customs, or identity. Communities may share a sense of place situated in a given geographical area or in virtual space through communication platforms.
  • How do you persevere despite the social injustices and inequities you experience?
  • What does resilience look like to you?

Porch Plays seeks to cultivate stories from Staten Island and NYC communities in creative response to the upheaval of the COVID-19 pandemic and the urgency against racial injustice permeating across the country. At a time when we have been unable to be together, we’ve managed to experience the ingenuity and adaptability of the human spirit. This moment has allowed for the return to a different kind of community connection: through socially distant bonds not just on Zoom, but also on porches and stoops, in backyards and parks, and in protests. As we reopen our city, we come together in new and reimagined ways that demonstrate our community’s enduring resilience. This shift from reopening to resiliency is an opportunity to examine the creative ways we can be together and how these connections spark solace, laughter, and survival.

Porches and stoops are unique transitional spaces that encapsulate both public and private life. They are informal meeting grounds for families, neighbors and friends. The porch has played an essential role as a communal space in American society dating back to the 19th-century and has seen a renaissance in the age of COVID-19. Through this cultural lens, Porch Plays builds on Snug Harbor’s commitment to activate our distinctive campus as an artistic platform for communities of color and other marginalized communities.


This call is free and open to all NYC-based performing artists working in theater, dance, music, poetry and storytelling.  All submissions must connect to the theme of community resilience outlined in this open call.  All submissions must include a work sample of the piece you wish to present. This could be a rough draft of a new piece or idea. Your work sample does not have to be a finished product. Only one submission per applicant

Due to COVID-19 occupancy guidelines, we can only accept pieces that feature 1-3 performers. All performances will take place on and/or around the porch of Cottage C on the grounds of Snug Harbor, adhering to COVID-19 guidelines.


  • All projects will receive a stipend of $50.00
  • All selected projects will be invited to participate in a Meet & Greet session with the creative team and other participants at the beginning and end of the process (participation strongly encouraged)
  • All selected projects will be offered dramaturgical support in the form of one 45-minute session with a member of the creative team
  • All selected projects will be offered twelve hours of rehearsal space at Snug Harbor leading up to the performance
  • All selected projects will receive video documentation of their performance which can be used for future promotion


  • All submissions are for performances 10 minutes or less
  • All submissions must be suitable for intimate, small spaces featuring no more than 3 performers in a given piece. Selected applicants are responsible for casting their piece and should adhere to social distancing guidelines in rehearsals and performance
  • All submissions must be suitable for low-tech performance. We will provide basic sound and lighting support
  • We encourage both new and existing original work. It must connect to the theme and prompts of community resilience outlined above


Snug Harbor Cultural Center & Botanical Garden is one of the largest ongoing adaptive reuse projects in the United States. It consists of 26 historical buildings, numerous distinctive botanical gardens and 10 acres of wetlands on a unique 83-acre campus. Formerly Sailors’ Snug Harbor, a home for retired sailors built in the 1800s, Snug Harbor is now a distinguished arts center where history, architecture, visual/performing arts and environmental science provide dynamic experiences for all ages. Snug Harbor’s campus is home to the Newhouse Center for Contemporary Art, New York Chinese Scholar’s Garden, the Noble Maritime Collection, Staten Island Children’s Museum, and Staten Island Museum. Snug Harbor is a proud Smithsonian Affiliate.

Snug Harbor celebrates and commits to fostering diversity, equity and inclusion.  We value and seek the strengths of human variety across communities, in programming, with staff, the Board of Directors, volunteers, artists and visitors. Snug Harbor strives to build a culture of diversity of voice and representation, authentically inclusive spaces and equity for all.

Snug Harbor Cultural Center & Botanical Garden is located on Staten Island’s North Shore. Easily reachable via public transportation, Snug Harbor is a 10-minute bus ride on the S40 or S44 bus from the Staten Island Ferry. For more information, please visit:


Snug Harbor is a springboard for artistry that is bold and unexpected, which reflects and celebrates the vibrant diversity of Staten Island. Our programs explore collaborative and interdisciplinary connections between the historical, cultural and environmental aspects of our mission. Snug Harbor is Staten Island’s leading incubator for arts and cultural production.


Snug Harbor Cultural Center & Botanical Garden’s (“Snug Harbor”) mission is to provide a vibrant, regional cultural destination that offers dynamic programming in arts, education, horticulture, agriculture, and recreation for diverse cultures and all ages while ensuring a well-managed campus for all residents of Staten Island and surrounding communities.

Download: Porch Plays Open Call Press Release (PDF)
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